The Intelligence Trap

Posted by: Bostonian

The Intelligence Trap - 08/06/19 10:46 AM

This book may be especially relevant to high-IQ people. A good book on rationality was "Thinking, Fast and Slow".

‘The Intelligence Trap’ Review: How Smart Is Too Smart?
By Emily Bobrow
Wall Street Journal
Aug. 5, 2019 6:49 pm ET

Every year brings more books about how stupid we are. Apparently humans are impulsive, gullible and prone to making all sorts of bad decisions. We are also fascinated by our shortcomings, if the shelves at airport bookstores are anything to go by. The latest contribution to the pile is from David Robson, a London-based science journalist, who offers an intriguing angle on our flawed habits of mind. In “The Intelligence Trap,” he argues not only that we are walking, talking, error-making machines, but also that the cleverest among us may make the biggest mistakes.

Anyone who has spent time on a college campus has probably intuited that innate intelligence and common sense don’t necessarily go hand in hand. But Mr. Robson bolsters his case with a raft of studies that show all the ways in which a fine mind can trip up. People with high SAT scores, for example, are less likely to either take advice or learn from their blunders. Folks with multiple degrees and professional expertise are often blind to their own biases. The consequences of these gaffes are often merely personal and embarrassing, but sometimes they are catastrophic. In American hospitals, one in 10 patient deaths appear to be the result of diagnostic mistakes.

To help distinguish between smarts and wisdom, Mr. Robson offers the analogy of a car. A fast engine can get you around quickly, but horsepower alone doesn’t guarantee you’ll arrive at your destination safely. Without a proper understanding of the rules of the road, a speedy driver is, in fact, a menace. Philosophers have perceived the shortcomings of sharp minds for millennia, but the pursuit of “evidence-based wisdom” really gained steam after the financial crash of 2008, when nearly everyone suffered from the costly mistakes of “experts.” New institutions such as Chicago’s Center for Practical Wisdom now apply scientific techniques, including randomized control trials, to explore and understand human reason. “The study of wisdom now seems to have reached a kind of tipping point,” Mr. Robson tells us.

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Posted by: Wren

Re: The Intelligence Trap - 08/06/19 04:58 PM

I disagree with the costly mistakes of experts on the crash of 2008. They knew. They knew the party was over and so they rushed to securitize any and all debt, no matter how bad. Just for the bonus. It wasn't a mistake, it was just greed. I talked to a lot of people about it. Many lost their jobs right after, since there was nothing left to securitize. Not because they did anything wrong. I can tell you about a similar issue in the 80s, where high risk tax shelters were repackaged as high yield income products and sold to anyone. Cost Prudentail hundreds in millions in fines...but no one went to jail.
And not surprised about bad diagnosis causing deaths. There is a lot of ego in the physian class.Society has put doctors on a pedestal since they were what kept you alive in the face of death. Big egos, are not condusive to thoughtful work. And people who may be brilliant in career can be totally stupid in personal ways. I remember there was some dentist who found out her husband was cheating on her and she runs the mistress over in her mercedes. How long did it take her, sitting in prison, think that it was a really stupid decision?
Posted by: sanne

Re: The Intelligence Trap - 08/07/19 09:15 PM

My son needs to read this book. LOL